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Northeastern journalism student named Google News Lab Fellow

Yan Wu, MA'18, a graduate student in the Media Innovation program in the School of Journalism, was recently named a 2018 Google News Lab Fellow, Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Yan Wu has amassed an impressive resumé of digital storytelling and data journalism experience at Northeastern, including work at Storybench to two co-ops at The Boston Globe. Now, she will further explore digital storytelling and sharpen her reporting skills through a Google News Lab Fellowship this summer.

Wu, who is in the School of Journalism’s Media Innovation program, is one of eight students nationwide selected to be 2018 Google News Lab Fellows. She is the third Northeastern journalism student in as many years to receive this prestigious honor, joining Emily Hopkins, MA’17, (2017) and Jorge Caraballo Cordovez, MA’17 (2016).

Starting in June, Wu will spend 10 weeks at the Center of Investigative Reporting in San Francisco, joining a team of reporters and producers behind Reveal, the center’s multiplatform news outlet, which includes its website, public radio program, and podcast.

“I’m really interested in data visualization and interactive graphics and learning new ways of storytelling,” said Wu, MA’18. “They have some of the best investigative reporters, designers, and developers. I know I will learn a lot there.”

Wu grew up in China, earning her bachelor’s degree in digital media art from Beijing Forestry University and her master’s degree in communication and media studies from Sun Yat-Sen University. She then worked for two years at the Shenzen Evening News, primarily as an editor for the paper’s local news coverage. But over time she realized she required—and coveted—new digital storytelling tools to advance as a journalist. And she wanted to come to the United States to get that experience.

“I found that to really push my story through, I needed to learn new ways of storytelling,” she said—and Northeastern was the perfect match. Not only did the curriculum allow her to take a variety of courses in areas such as media innovation and information design, but she also worked for Storybench—a blog that explores the art and science of digital storytelling.

Wu is also now in the final month of her second co-op an editorial designer at The Boston Globe, where she creates daily graphics for the website and newspaper and works on long-term projects in collaboration with reporters. One of her first projects when she began there last summer was as a data visualization developer on the Globe’s Spotlight team’s series on racism, which was a finalist this year for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting; she created an enclaves map, a hospital map, an interactive graphic to show college students percentage change by race, and a scroll graphic for people in power for the award-winning series. Her other dynamic work on co-op includes developing an interactive graphic for and co-authoring a piece on President Donald Trump’s tweets as well as designing a piece titled “Finding Home,” which tells the heartwarming story in the form of a children’s book of one local dog’s journey toward finding a new owner.

This summer, Wu is eager to delve into a variety of projects, including those that mix graphics with audio. “The opportunity to work with Reveal means a lot to me,” she said.